Getting the Truth into Workplace Surveys

by Revelio LabsDecember 28, 2021

Employee surveys are a source of vital workforce data the company can use to reform its leadership styles and improve morale. According to studies, 50% of employees are less than truthful in their survey feedback. There's no way to guarantee the accuracy of the responses, and employees may lie about their position and managers in fear of losing favor or their job.

So how can asset managers get the most truth into workplace surveys?

Focus on Actionable Workforce Data

A workplace survey can contain all kinds of questions about the employee's experience, challenges, comments, suggestions, and projections. Companies can ask employees to fill out surveys at the end of the year to measure how content they are with various aspects, including:

• Their job positions

• Working conditions

• Compensations and benefit packages

• Managers and Leadership Style

Human resources should focus on employee experience when designing workplace surveys, and the survey shouldn't connect scores to manager ratings and compensation. HR can make the process about honest feedback, focusing on actionable data commenting on observable behavior. Going for actionable feedback also eliminates speculations, thoughts, and opinions.

Express the Intentions of the Survey

Workplace surveys may seem like regular pieces of paper employee needs to fill each year. There's little incentive for the employees to provide truthful feedback, so it's vital to express explicitly what the company plans to do with the information. Whenever there's a survey, people instantly expect the surveyor to use the data somehow.

Companies should describe why they collect specified information and what will happen with the results. If nothing happens, employees may assume the feedback wasn't valuable, which could hurt the credibility of future feedback. Human resource departments should communicate how it plans to use the information and what employees should expect after the process.

Target Suggestions Not Criticism

Many biases exist in employee surveys, including respondents' predisposition to agree with a question. To address this response bias, HR might create negative questions and describe the presence of such questions to ensure transparency. Instead of criticism, the team should focus on inquiries that seek solutions and improvements.

When the scale is balanced, employees are more inclined to make honest suggestions. Instead of focusing on what isn't working and who is to blame, the idea is to construct questions on what is going well and what could be improved. You should reword the question if the answer causes angst towards a specific person.

Eliminate All Ranking Questions

In workplace surveys, ranking questions are popular, and they ask employees to rate items in a list according to their preferences. According to studies, ranking questions have some biases, including the number of choices and the sequence in which they are listed. Respondents frequently recall the first and last items on a list and assign them the highest or lowest ranking.

Including ranking questions early in the survey can cause skewed opinions in the following questions. Employees may grow sensitive to a certain topic or wish to be consistent with their ranking decisions, even if it means lying. To avoid having unrelated themes in one query, the HR staff should delete rankings.

Keep Survey Responses Confidential

Workforce surveys are hardly anonymous. If the company wants to identify who said what, they'll do it effortlessly. The HR team should focus on keeping survey data confidential and individually anonymous. Employees are more likely to be truthful in their responses if they know the company cannot trace it back to them.

One way to reinforce anonymity and confidentiality involves offering traditional paper surveys. Most employees know digital devices have a traceable fingerprint, and companies can quickly determine feedback origins. Paper-based surveys with extra boxes can demonstrate the company's commitment to ensure feedback remains anonymous.

Reduce Survey Completion Time

Keeping surveys straightforward can aid employees in understanding what each question entails, which is critical for honest responses. No one wants to take a long survey, especially if there isn't any reward. All questions should be valuable and aligned with the workforce data the HR team wants to collect from its employees.

When conducting surveys, employees should be given enough time to answer all questions but not too much time to consider their replies. If the employee is given more than 20 minutes to study their answers, they may make considerable adjustments. Such incidents can be avoided by keeping polls short and giving respondents a limited time to complete them.

Other Ways to Getting the Truth into Workplace Surveys

The HR department can do many other things to get the truth into workplace surveys. It's essential to do as promised. Consistency and transparency are important when designing surveys. If you promised something during last year's survey and failed to deliver, there'll be no reason for employees to believe your promises for this year's survey.

HR should monitor developing trends and techniques to provide employees with the best experience completing workplace surveys. At Revelio Labs, we offer workforce data intelligence to all kinds of companies. Our platform offers access to hundreds of millions of standardized public employment records and a universal HR database for investors and strategists.